The International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA), founded in 1996, is an organization based in Berryville, Arkansas, that promotes defensive pistol shooting as a sport, using equipment including full-charge service ammunition to solve simulated "real world" self-defense scenarios. Shooters competing in defensive pistol events are required to use practical handguns and holsters that are deemed suitable for self-defense use. The sport came about as a response to many perceived shortcomings of competitions organized by the International Practical Shooting Confederation (IPSC). It was decided by the founders of IDPA (Bill Wilson, John Sayle, Ken Hackathorn, Dick Thomas, Walt Rauch and Larry Vickers), which included some of the founders of IPSC, that IPSC competitions had become too far removed from the reality of defensive shooting situations, using extensively modified guns, handmade ammunition, and speed-draw holsters that were impractical for self-defense. The IDPA founders believed that IPSC matches had become "gun races," which were heavily dependent on equipment. That is, you had to have the latest gun, sighting equipment, and competition holster to be competitive. Since alterations to the sidearm are carefully regulated in IDPA, and magazine capacity is limited to a division-specific maximum of 10 rounds, it is possible to be competitive in IDPA with a greatly reduced outlay of money.

Scoring at each match is based on the time taken to shoot the stage plus time added for any penalties accrued. Penalties are given for poor marksmanship (i.e. posting hits outside the targets' highest scoring area), failure to use cover, failure to follow a Safety Officer's directions, or any violation of IDPA rules. Penalties range from one-half second per dropped point on targets up to 20 seconds for a Failure to Do Right which is a blatant violation of IDPA rules - i.e. cheating or unsportsmanlike conduct.

Vickers Count: Most IDPA stages are scored using Vickers Count which means that shooters may fire as many rounds as they feel necessary to make the specified number of hits. The best hits on the target are the only ones that count for score. If a stage calls for 2 hits on each target, a shooter may fire 2, 3, 10 or however many rounds he needs to make those hits and no penalty will be given beyond the amount of time taken to make those shots. The best 2 hits will count.

Limited-Vickers Count: On a standards stage (an exercise intended to test marksmanship and gun handling skill as opposed to being a scenario) it is common for the course of fire to specify Limited-Vickers scoring. On this type of stage, the shooter may fire no more than the number of rounds specified. Firing more rounds will earn a procedural penalty and only the lowest scoring hits on target, of the number specified in the course of fire, are counted. For example: a Limited-Vickers stage calls for two shots fired; the shooter fires one round into the -0 zone and one round into the -1 zone; dissatisfied with a less-than-perfect score they fire again, hitting the -0 zone; when the target is scored, only the -0 and -1 zone hits will count. The "make up" -0 shot will be thrown out (not because it is the make up, but because is a higher score and the rationale is there should be no possible advantage accrued from failing to follow the stage procedure) and the shooter will be assessed a procedural penalty for firing more shots than the course called for. In addition, the shooter will have also added to their score by taking the time to fire the extra round.

Points Down: The current standard IDPA target is a cardboard humanoid shape with scoring zones perforated onto its surface. There are two areas marked as "-0" or "down zero" (the head and center-mass of the body represented by a circle, which has been moved up from its original position to be higher in the target body, thus more closely approximating the location of the heart and surrounding arteries) and one each marked "-1" and "-3."

Hit in each zone are added to the total points down. A target calling for two hits, with one hit in both the "-1" and "-3" zones would be scored as "-4" and called as "down-4." Only the shooter's best hits are scored unless a stage is specified as Limited Vickers Count. A Limited Vickers stage specifies the number of shots that can be taken at a target. Additional shots taken past the specified number results in a procedural penalty, in addition to which only the lowest-scoring shots are recorded.

A miss on a target is scored as down-5.

The points down are converted into time by multiplying by .5 (each point down incurs a half-second penalty) and added to the total time taken to shoot the stage.

Procedural Penalty: A procedural penalty is a 3-second penalty given for breaking the rules of IDPA or failing to follow the directions of a course of fire.

Procedurals may be assessed by the safety officer for thing such as: • Failure to use cover. • Shooting targets in the wrong order. • Failure to follow the directions for the stage. • Leaving ammunition behind after performing a tactical reload (reload with retention).

FTN: A failure to neutralize is a 5-second penalty for not getting at least one shot within the down-0 or down-1 zones of a threat target. If a shooter lands only peripheral hits on the target, or misses the target altogether, the threat target is still considered viable and a potential threat to the shooter. This penalty does not apply in Limited Vickers stages or for targets that completely disappear.

Can I play? Yes. If you exhibit safe gun handling skills. You need to be able to control the muzzle of your gun at all times. NVSA is a cold range. That means at no time will any gun be loaded with ammunition unless you are under the direct supervision of an IDPA certified safety officer.  You will also need to be able to load and unload your weapon. You will definitely need a desire to have fun. Check out the entire rules section at Feel free to contact a member at the club to discuss what equipment you have and if it will work well for this game. North Valley Shooters Association welcomes all new shooters to come out and watch free of charge.

NVSA's IDPA club meets on the third Sunday of the month. You should arrive before 8:30 to get your holsters on and be ready for the new shooters meeting 8:45 - 9:00.